JD, La Paz, Baja California, Mexico
I’m generally with Billy Connolly when it comes to the sea – if we were meant to go in it they wouldn’t have filled it with so many things that bite and sting and nip.
But a day’s snorkelling at Cabo Pulmo has changed all that – although the last words I heard before plunging in to the depths was “this is where I saw a grouper the size of a man”. Gulp!
Calm, beautiful clear waters above Baja’s only coral reef, amazing colourful fish, including a shoal of thousands and, to top it all, a colony of sea lions that swam below and around us. It was a magical experience finished off with a couple beers and some seafood tacos overlooking the bay.
The coastal drive to Cabo Pulmo was an experience in itself – 30 miles of washboard road and pot-holes, with the occasional sand trap. Apart from banging the propane tank off the odd rock and unnecessary speed bump the only casualty was a hub cap which we spied rolling down the road, retrieved and secured back in place.
Completing the southern loop of Baja Sur we visited (and camped on) the beaches of Los Frailes, Los Barriles and La Ventana where, as the name suggests, it’s pretty windy – and a major centre for kiteboarding and windsurfing. Snorkelling was dangerous enough for me, so the idea of being blown through the air whilst strapped to a kite, suspended above the sea or crashing through the waves is a step too far. But it’s amazing fun to watch….
The state of some of the roads and the fact that we seem to enjoy heading for ever more remote beaches and villages has convinced us we need to get the van’s suspension raised if we are to avoid doing it permanent damage. So we’ve tracked down a highly recommended VW mechanic who is busy working on the van as I write. By the time we pick it up this evening it should be four inches higher.
So in the meantime we’re busy practising our Spanish… something we need to do more of after, well, let’s just call it ‘fishgate’. Misunderstandings are common when you travel. Even as as a four-year-old I recall my dad marching into a chemist and confidently asking for a shampoo for his horse… sadly the words for horse and hair are very similar in French.
There’s already been many a time when meaning to say ‘I don’t understand’ we’ve told someone they don’t understand. And I did ask a policeman if there was a bench in the town instead of a bank.
So what of ‘fishgate’? I still maintain it wasn’t our fault. We’ve been buying whole fish (pescado entero) to BBQ regularly. Only last night entero not only meant with head and tail, but guts too. It was a messy business.
And so to avoid similar mishaps in future we turned to the dictionary. But all I can say now is “I am gutted”. I was… but it shows why more practise is necessary.
Things we now know to be true: Sometimes whole really does mean whole.